food

Ramen Shop’s Strangely Persuasive Billboard Brags “Nothing Good Here!”

Wherever you go in the suburbs of Japan, you can bet that there will be a ramen shop along the main road. They usually offer a large parking area and have the run down look of shops that have been in business for years and years. They’re the kind of places long-haul truckers like to stop for a meal and a nap.

One such ramen shop has made news recently when its rather unique billboard was blogged about. In bold, black letters, the sign reads, “There’s nothing good here!”
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Finally, Potato Chips That Make Us Feel Filthy Rich

On 19 January, potato chip maker, Koikeya, announced they will sell a new flavor in their Premium Series line of chips, this time using the flavor of one of the most expensive delicacies in the world, truffles.

Sold at convenience stores across Japan from January 30 to February 6, you too can get a taste of the good life for only around 150 yen (US$2) a bag.

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A Fast-Food Joint to Visit Before You Die

First Kitchen is a Japanese fast-food chain that has been rapidly expanding in the Kanto and Kinki areas. Readers in Japan have probably been to a First Kitchen at least once, but did you know that there is a branch with phenomenal views that rival high-end resorts and skyscraper restaurants?
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Discovering the Best Strawberry Shortcake in Japan

Japanese strawberry shortcake is different from the kind usually eaten in the United States in that it’s more like an angel food cake with whipped cream icing and sliced strawberries. Amongst Japanese people, strawberry shortcakes are considered a classic dessert. In Sugamo, Tokyo, is a bakery where it is said that the finest shortcakes in Japan are produced. The French Pound House Bakery is found in a quiet residential district, only a five minute walk from JR Sugamo train station.

Because they have received a lot of media exposure, their strawberry shortcake is still their top selling item. Even though they try to keep up with demand, they often run completely out of sponge cake.

For such a good reputation, I felt that it was necessary to find out for myself.

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The Fermented Soy Cheesecake Challenge

Natto, for those of you that haven’t been introduced to the smelly, sticky Japanese foodstuff, is fermented soy beans. And if you do know natto, you probably also know that Mito in Ibaraki Prefecture is the place to go for the good stuff. Well, recently a venerable Mito natto company started selling a rather surprising new item: natto cheesecake. That’s right, a cheesecake made from fermented soy beans. Read More

Japanese Packed Lunches That Are Hard to Swallow; Edible Batteries and Bathroom Cleansers Enough to Make Andy Warhol Blush

Recently a lot of attention has been directed at Japanese mothers’ painstakingly crafted packed lunches called charabens (character bentos). It’s something of a competition for mothers to send their children off to school with not just the best tasting or healthiest food, but also the most creatively arranged. The BBC ran a feature showing how housewives attend classes to arrange rice, seaweed, and other ingredients into characters ranging from Hello Kitty and Totoro to Michael Jackson and Barack Obama.

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Manhattan Japanese Restaurant EAST Serves Unexpected Tear-Jerker

I happened upon a kaiten sushi-ya (conveyor belt sushi restaurant) while on an extended trip to New York, and I was surprised that something other than the hot wasabi brought tears to my eyes.

Japanese Restaurant EAST in Manhattan is a far cry from any Japanese kaiten sushi-ya – this place is as hip as any nightclub in the area. The chef is not Japanese, but his skills are just as good as those of any “genuine” sushi chef. He rolled out perfectly squeezed nigiri sushi and delicious miso soup.

And though I like to get adventurous with the wasabi from time to time, I was not prepared for the rotating item that would move me to tears on this day.

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BREAKING NEWS: Captain Jack Sparrow Now Manages Cake Shop

As I was taking a walk through the city the other day, I encountered a cake shop with a fantastic exterior like something out of a fairy tale. It had a very cheerful ambiance, and on closer inspection, I noticed a remarkable figure. Could it be? Star of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Jack Sparrow, selling pastries? Captain Jack managing a cake shop?
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6 Reasons Disneyland’s Secret Restaurant Club 33 Is Awesome

Did you know that there is a secret, members-only restaurant in Tokyo Disneyland called Club 33? The majority of memberships are corporate accounts, allowing them to do business entertaining there, but there are also individual members. Don’t get your hopes up, though, because they aren’t accepting applications. If you want to get in the door, no matter who you are or how much money you have, you have to be invited by a member.

But what is this mysterious Club 33 actually like? We’ve tracked down someone who was invited to enjoy a luxurious evening there, and according to him, these are the six most amazing things about Club 33.
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Calling All Boozehounds! All You Can Drink for 30 Minutes, Just 299 Yen!

The weekend is almost here! You’re off tomorrow, so how’s about hitting the bars? Come on, you’re probably sitting at your desk right now sneakily checking out your options for a post-work tipple.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking: if you want to drink the good stuff and actually manage a buzz, it’s going to cost a pretty penny. Well, think again. Rocket News has found the best, cheapest nomihoudai in town.
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What Kind of Hamburger Is Worth 23 Bucks?

Every day on my way to work, I pass one of the many outlets of fast-food giant Lotteria. Usually, I grab a cup of coffee there and drink it as I head to the office, but this morning something new caught my eye.

They’re selling Matsusaka Beef hamburgers? Hamburgers made from one of the best quality meats in Japan, famous for its exquisite marbling? But at 1800 yen (about $23), that’s a pretty steep price tag for a fast-food burger… Will it be worth it?
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“Gourmet” fans, add Ikebukuro Station to your list of stops for fine fare. Platform 3/4 for the Tobu Tojo Line, to be exact. HOT DOG 59 is the name, hot dogs are their game.

Folks in gourmet circles rave about these sizzling sausages available only at this single location. HOT DOG 59 spares no expense on the quality of the buns and dogs, said to be a step above New York’s famed red hots.

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Japanese confectionery companies always seem to be on the lookout for the next great combination of tastes, and the shelves in supermarkets and convenience stores are often stocked with the results of these “korabo.”

Words like “suspect” and “amusing” come to mind to describe most of these products, but Morinaga and Pasco have teamed up to create a product that just may give the old peanut butter and chocolate combo a run for its money.

“Morinaga Caramel Shokupan” is exactly what it sounds like: the old-fashioned flavor of Morinaga Caramel baked into fluffy Pasco bread. The packaging is the same gold color as those familiar little rectangular boxes of caramel, and the immediate association with the mouth-watering taste of Morinaga caramel is anything but subtle.

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